Most Americans Say ACA Has Not Affected Their Families

According to a new poll, six in 10 Americans say the new health law has affected neither them nor their families. However, among those who say they have been affected, Republicans are more likely to say they have been hurt by the law while Democrats are more likely to say they have been helped by the law. The public’s overall view of the law has remained unchanged with 38 percent of those surveyed saying they favor the law and 45 percent holding an unfavorable view. Nevertheless, a majority of the public say they would like Congress to improve the law rather than repeal or replace it.

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OIG Report: Documentation Coding Errors Costing Medicare Billions

According to a new OIG report, documentation coding errors related to routine patient evaluation and management (E/M) visits are costing Medicare billions of dollars in improper payments a year. The investigation found that nearly $7 billion dollars in improper payments were made in 2010 alone. Most of the losses were the due to bills that were incorrectly coded and/or lacking documentation; 42% of claims for E/M services in 2010 were incorrectly coded and 19% lacked proper documentation. However, only about 4% of the visits analyzed were for initial or subsequent skilled nursing care-most of the claims were for “established patient office/outpatient visits.”

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HMS Healthcare Management Solutions, Inc. is Exhibiting at the New England Home Care Conference & Trade Show!

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HMS Healthcare Management Solutions, Inc. is Exhibiting at the New England Home Care Conference & Trade Show!

HMS Healthcare Management Solutions, Inc. is exhibiting at the New England Home Care Conference and Trade Show today at the Boston Park Plaza! Make sure to visit us, booth #802, to learn how we can help you run a smoother, more efficient agency!

Medical School Grads Having Trouble Obtaining Residencies

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, hundreds of medical school graduates are having trouble obtaining residencies. The failure to obtain a residency has more to do with supply and demand in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), which allocates residencies, than a student’s performance. Despite the physician shortage, there are more graduates than residencies. Medical schools have responded to the shortage by increasing class sizes, but experts say that the number of doctors will not increase unless more residency slots open.

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Veterans Could Be Entitled to Hospice Care Under New Bill

All veterans could become entitled to hospice care if a recently introduced House bill, called the “Care for Our Heroes Act” becomes law. Currently, veterans must meet certain prior care requirements, as well as income and asset thresholds to qualify for hospice care at facilities run by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The bill would simplify the relevant statute and remove current barriers.

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Registration For Hospice User IDs Now Available

All Medicare-certified hospices will be required to complete and submit a Hospice Item Set (HIS) Admission record and a Hospice Item Set (HIS) Discharge record for each patient admission on or after July 1, 2014. The HIS records are submitted to the Quality Improvement and Evaluation System (QIES) Assessment Submission and Processing (ASAP) system.

Hospices that are required to submit the HIS records must register for two separate user IDs: a CMSNet User ID and a QIES User ID. Online registration applications for the CMSNet User ID and the QIES User ID are now available.

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Tiptastic Tuesday: 3 Pathways To Patient-Centered Care

Press Ganey’s 2014 Strategic Insights report, “Reducing Suffering: The Path to Patient-Centered Care,” includes three levels of analytics that providers can use to improve patient care and increase engagement. According to the report, providers can no longer just focus on treating patients’ illnesses; instead, they should address patient suffering, which involves treating the physical side of illness as well as mental ones, such as fear, anxiety, confusion and frustration.

Organizations should focus on the following three areas:

  1. System-based analysis to identify weaknesses and variations in care that lead to a less reliable experience.
  2. Individual physician performance to identify those physicians who have trouble “retaining patients and obtaining patient loyalty.” The report advises organizations to build mentoring programs, establish behavior-changing compensation plans and create team-oriented, patient-centric delivery systems to support these physicians.
  3. Employee and physician engagement to include nurses in the process, in addition to physicians.The report also asks providers to follow a five-step process: assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation to review with patients, families and colleagues.

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